Entertainment & Events

Comic-Con Review – Comic Extravaganza!

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You enter a packed convention center full of people dressed in elaborate and snazzy costumes like Marvel heroes and cartoon characters (Perry the Platypus),  Welcome to Comic-Con, the largest comic book convention according to Guinness World Records, attracting over 125,000 attendees!  Comic-Con, held in San Diego since 40 years ago, also features cartoons, TV shows, movies, and other pop culture mediums.

One of the highlights at this year’s Comic-Con was reuniting with “How to Train Your Dragon” co-director Dean DeBlois from DreamWorks Animation, whom I interviewed in March 2010 at Dragon press junket.  I was thrilled to interview director DeBlois again during his Comic-Con panel “Writing Animated Feature Films” Q&A on July 24.

Dean Deblois and Perry Chen

I asked, “I noticed that many DreamWorks animation films have crude humor like farting, but your DreamWorks film ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ doesn’t have crude humor.  Why is that and what’s your view on crude humor in animation?”  The audience roared with laughter when they heard my question.  Director DeBlois said, “DreamWorks is open enough studio to allow different tones of movies to get made.  For Chris Sanders (co-director of Dragon) and I, most of our comedies are character and situation-based.  We don’t love potty humor.  But it is a very popular brand of humor, like you see in Shrek which is obviously very popular and made a lot of money.  I never put it down.  But it’s not our style of humor.”

In my opinion, lots of kids don’t really appreciate crude humor in animation films.  Pixar movies and a lot of Disney movies are well loved by kids and adults alike, NOT because of crude humor, but because of their compelling, moving storylines.  I think it would be wise for studios to focus on telling great stories rather than bathroom humor which is cheap, and ironically not that funny.

I invited director DeBlois to attend the premiere of my “Perry’s Previews Webseries” at the Horton Plaza which happened to be on the same day, July 24, in the afternoon.  Surprisingly, he agreed right away and spoke at the panel discussion with me and director Kevin Sean Michaels (of my first animation film Beyond the Forest)!  Director DeBlois is down to earth, mild mannered, good natured who laughed easily.  He LOVED my caricature drawing of him!

Bill Plympton with Perry Chen

Another highlight was reconnecting with animation master, Oscar-nominee Bill Plympton and director Kevin Sean Michaels whom I met last year.  The three of us and my mom (executive producer of my animation film) were interviewed as a team on CW channel 6 on July 22 about making “Beyond the Forest.”  Bill Plympton and I were interviewed on Fox News again on the same day.

I also got to meet Karina Bessoudo, Vice President of Marketing from Toon Boom Animation, which is one of our first corporate sponsors for my animation film!  She is a lovely lady and we talked about collaborating on the project using Toon Boom Studio software.  Toon Boom Animation’s website will soon publish a feature about “Beyond the Forest.”

My mom and I dropped by the Wacom booth, Wacom is our first corporate sponsor and I’m experimenting with its tablet for my animation film.  I saw the Wacom Cintiq model and was shocked by how nice it looked: you can draw straight onto the big 21’’ screen.  There is more pressure sensitivity, and it even has a tilt setting!  Amazing!  A professional artist did a portrait of me on the Wacom Cintiq tablet, it’s a masterpiece!

Child film critic Perry Chen & film critic Jen Yamato

Movies.com film critic Jen Yamato and I enjoyed interviewing each other about our favorite movies, film critics, animals, and shared views about the state of film critique.  Jen loves her work as a film critic and was the first female panelist at the “Masters of the Web” panel at Comic-Con!

I enjoyed interviewing and meeting Ronnie Del Carmen, story supervisor of Pixar’s “Up” during and after his panel discussion about “Up.”  He was so happy to see my photo with his colleagues director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera of Up!  It was also fun to see new movies at the San Diego International Children’s Film Festival on Sunday July 25, where a promo DVD about “Beyond the Forest” was shown, followed by introduction by director Kevin Sean Michaels and me.  The Disney TV series “Phineas & Ferb” is one of my favorite TV shows, I loved the panel on that too.

I rate this year’s Comic-Con 4.5 starfish, a “Perrific” experience!  Lots of excellent panels, amazing costumes, delicious treats (hot cocoa, coffee cakes, my favorite is Gherideli chocolate malt!), and no shortage of nice, helpful people.

Rumors are spreading that Comic-Con might move to Anaheim or Las Vegas.  Come on, Anaheim already has Disneyland, and who would be stupid enough to put a convention of comics, movie geeks, and family-friendly entertainment in SIN CITY?  I hope that Comic-Con will stay, so that San Diegans can enjoy the wonderful adventures it brings year after year.

Copyright 2010 by Perry S. Chen

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